He worked for the Independent Journal for 35 years. His toughest shot, he told a reporter in 1988, was of the grieving San Rafael widow of an airline crash victim on PSA flight 1771 the year before. He said he felt like an intruder when he got the shot of her face, etched in pain as she clutched a flag in a cemetery. Happier assignments, he recalled, were covering the Bay Area visit of Pope John Paul II and the return home to San Rafael of a soldier held as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
Hax earned more than two dozen awards from news organizations and trade associations for his photographs over the years, ranging from high school sports action to breaking news events, such as a 1967 melee at San Quentin State Prison involving American Nazi leader George Lincoln Rockwell.
He worked at the Times from 1948 until his retirement in 1981. According to an 1981 article, “He was the newspaper employee best known by the public, and he photographed many celebrities including President Harry S. Truman, Eleanor Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Louis Armstrong, Ronald Reagan, Shirley Temple, Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, Nikita Khrushchev, Bob Hope, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman, Jane Mansfield, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Willie Mays among others. He photographed the Beatles when they stayed in Palo Alto. He also cover many Bing Crosby Pebble Beach golf tournaments.
Former Palo Alto Times Tribune chief photographer Bob Andres recalled, “He’s always had a coffee cup in his hand, always had a shirt and tie on, and was all business all the time. I was ‘the kid’ on the staff, and definitely had to prove himself, which I think I did. He went full gamut from 4×5 to 2-1/4 to 35mm. I remember looking at negatives of a car crash sequence he shot on 4×5 – he had the patient on the gurney coming at him and loaded into the ambulance like it was shot in 35mm with a motor, which is impressive.”